Missing College Student Kenny DeLand Found Alive in Spain but Many Questions Remain Unaswered

Kenny DeLand Jr., 22, is preparing to fly home according to his family, who reported their son was safe in Spain on Friday morning.

An American college student whose disappearance prompted massive media coverage and search efforts across Europe has been found safe.

Kenny DeLand Jr., 22, is preparing to fly home, according to his family, who reported their son was safe in Spain on Friday morning.

"We are so happy to announce that Kenny is safe; we received a call from Kenny in the early morning hours on December 16, 2022. Kenny is in Spain, and Carol (his mom) is in France, preparing to see Kenny and hopefully bring him home for Christmas," read a message posted by the family.

DeLand had been studying abroad at the University Grenoble Alpes in France when he was reported missing earlier this month. He attends St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York.

He last had contact with his family on Nov. 27, when he messaged his father on WhatsApp. The family said that DeLand attended class the following day, and on Nov. 29 left the home of his host family and boarded a train for Valence.

DeLand only packed his cell phone, wallet, some food and a change of clothing for the trip.

His phone pinged at the Valence Station on Nov. 30 and surveillance footage showed him entering a sporting goods store on Dec. 3, but in those two weeks he did not reach out to his family or friends.

Eric Vaillant, the public prosecutor in Grenoble, told Inside Edition that he had been informed that DeLand was found in Spain and had spoken to his parents. 

Questions remain however as to why DeLand was not in communication with his family, why his WhatsApp was turned off, or how he ended up in Spain. The journey from Valence to the border of Spain is approximately 550 miles.

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